A female welder at Caterpillar’s North East factory has told other young women to consider careers in her trade.
Emily Smith, 23, is in the final year of a Level 3 Welding and Fabrication apprenticeship at Middlesbrough College, and works on the production line four days a week at the construction equipment manufacturer’s Stockton facility.
The ambitious youngster from Billingham says there are great career opportunities to be had in welding, and she hopes to move into a full time role with the globally renowned manufacturer.
Thanks to training at the College and from her employer, Emily already has skills across different forms of welding - including MIG, TIG and MMA processes.
She now plans to progress to an HNC qualification in Welding and Fabrication later this year.
She said: “Before I started I didn’t know much about welding at all, but I had the chance to speak to a girl who had done the course before.
“Something about it interested me, and I can now say it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
“It is varied and challenging – and not like an office job at all.
“Caterpillar is a great company to work for. They’ve really supported me in my studies, and provided opportunities.”
Emily works alongside a number of her male classmates who have also embarked on apprenticeships training through the firm.
She has relished the challenge to prove herself and added:
“Being the only woman hasn’t stopped my progress at Caterpillar. I think I’ve proven that I’m capable of producing work that’s as good as my male colleagues.
“I always look forward to solving problems at work, as one of the team.
“Caterpillar has been fantastic in providing me with the time and resources I need to complete my studies.”
Liam Taylor, Emily’s workplace assessor at Middlesbrough College, and a welder by profession, said:
“Emily has progressed so well throughout her studies and she’s a highly valued member of the team at Caterpillar.
“I know she has a bright future ahead of her, particularly as her skills are in demand with sales of Caterpillar machines on the increase again.”